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Microsoft Unveils Early Preview of Xbox Controller Bar for PC Gamers

You need to be a Windows insider and Xbox Insider to access the feature.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
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Zachary McAuliffe
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A white Xbox controller

Press the Xbox button on a controller to open the new feature.


Microsoft unveiled a new feature Thursday that gives some PC gamers access to an onscreen controller bar by using their Xbox controller.

The feature works from your home screen or while you're in a game. It shows the last three games you played and other buttons for game launchers like Steam. Microsoft said some third-party games might not appear, or might appear as duplicates, in the controller bar, though.

A horizontal black bar with game and program icons on it

What the controller bar might look like when open on your screen.


To access the feature, PC gamers need to be a part of the Windows Insider and Xbox Insider channels and must be participating in the latest Insider Builds on the Dev and Beta Channels. Here's how to access the feature.

1. You need to be a Windows Insider running the latest Insider Preview Build (Build 225xx) from the Dev and Beta Channels.

2. Download the Xbox Insider Hub from the Microsoft Store.

3. Open the Xbox Insider Hub and sign-in with your Microsoft Account. If you are not already an Xbox Insider, it will ask you to join.

4. After signing in, go to Previews and join the Windows Gaming preview.

5. Make sure you have the latest version of Xbox Game Bar (Version 5.722.5022.0 or higher) in the Microsoft Store.

6. Reboot your PC. Microsoft said this is important in order for the Game Bar update to kick in for controller bar. 

7. Pair or plug in your controller.

Push the Xbox button on your controller and the controller bar should open on your screen. The feature is still in testing so you can send feedback to Microsoft if you run into any issues or bugs.

For more gaming news, read about how Fortnite is now free to play on Microsoft's Xbox cloud gaming, how to get beta access to Overwatch 2 and the best video game subscription services.

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